Together we can make a difference

By Jimmy Hoppers, MD

I have proposed a plan that suggests a new direction for our community’s fight against COVID-19, one that actually protects the most vulnerable among us, the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions. If you want to volunteer to help, please email me personally.

Painted in broad strokes, let’s first identify in real time the ages and comorbidities (not the names) of those in Madison County who have died or become seriously ill from COVID-19. With this information in hand, we then redirect manpower now being spent on futile contact tracing to individual clinics who immediately begin the arduous task of contacting high-risk patients within their own practice. At that point we reach out to the people of Jackson and Madison County and trust they will once again rise to meet the challenge – as they always have in time of crisis – and come forward with an army of volunteers.

These volunteers, holding out a carrot and not a stick, and gently asking rather than pointedly probing, do their best to make sure those they contact have the basic necessities of life. By helping to assure that their pantry is full, that needed medication is available, that they are warm and dry, protected from the elements, and by providing them daily human contact, these volunteers do their best to inform patients of the specific risks of exposure to COVID-19.

At the same time we may be able to convince them it is in their best interest to voluntarily withdraw from the general population for a time. If we are successful, lives will be saved, serious illness avoided, and by default, the hospital’s critical care census will decline.

The task will not be easy – in fact, it will be almost herculean – and thus far, local government has shown no inclination to help. Instead of doing all they can to protect our parents, our grandparents, our elderly neighbors and others with chronic medical conditions, they continue to focus almost entirely on numbers, wrongly believing that all positive tests are the same, and failing to realize that real people stand behind the numbers.

Since government consistently refuses to lead, Physicians Quality Care will.

Beginning January 4, PQC will have staff in place solely for the purpose of identifying and contacting our elderly patients and those in our practice with significant medical concerns. We neither have the money nor the manpower to get in touch with everybody, nor by ourselves will we be able to guarantee daily contact. When we do identify a specific need however that endangers the safety and well-being of a member of our community, we hope and pray that others will, by that time, have voluntarily joined the cause, whether individuals, church groups, nonprofits, schools, civic clubs, businesses, or other groups, and that from the storehouse of our community’s resources those needs can be met.

This has never been a political issue with me. It has always been a matter of protecting and serving those who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in a precarious position. My parents died a decade ago just shy of the age of ninety. If they were alive today, in light of this pandemic, I would be absolutely terrified. And as strong as both my parents were, I am convinced they would have been terrified too. We are talking about the generation who built our city, defended our freedoms, and led our community through many difficult years. It’s time we did something to protect them. Let’s stop making excuses, roll up our sleeves, and get to work.

Physicians Quality Care is just one private clinic. We can’t turn the tide of this pandemic by ourselves, but we are willing to do our small part.

If you have just a few minutes a day to be a bridge between the “real world” and someone who otherwise might feel isolated and alone, please email me personally. If you lead a civic club or nonprofit, if you teach a Sunday School class or pastor a church, if your class at school or your youth group is looking for a project, if you are a simply a concerned individual willing to get involved, please get in touch with me today.

Government has abdicated its responsibility. I am convinced we the people will once again rise to the occasion and prove what Jackson and Madison County are capable of when we come together for a common goal.

If not us, who? If not now, when?

Read more about our strategy to fight COVID-19 here.

COVID-19 Protocols

If you have fever, cough, and shortness of breath and are concerned that this might be COVID-19, please enter through the traditional ‘primary care’ entrance located between the main ‘urgent care’ entrance to the south and the ‘occupational medicine’ (OCCMed) entrance by the red Mack truck to the north. You will check in and wait in a dedicated area away from other patients.